Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Joey's Italian Cafe, Wynwood

My restaurant trend prediction for 2009: the stylish pizza bar. We were inundated with steakhouse in '08 so it's time for something new, casual and a lot more budget-friendly.

First up is Joey's Italian Cafe (2506 NW 2nd Ave, 305.438.0488) in Wynwood. Go there now. It's cheap and good. And the space is minimalist-cool. Sure, it's deep, deep in gritty Wynwood and at night you may be reluctant to park your car more than a block away (valet is free for you scaredy-cats). But Miami is all about taking risks, so why not start with this hip newcomer, with its pastas that can be had for full or half-portions (ranging from $5-$13) and deliciously creative salads like the radicchio with grapes and grilled baccala (below).

The pizzas are just the right amount of chewy and crusty with a lovely cheese-to-topping ratio. We tried the dolce e piccante made with figs, gorgonzola, honey and hot pepper. The blending of sweet, stinky cheese and fiery pepper was a culinary circus. And at $14 refreshingly affordable. We paired with a half portion of spinach ravioli in a salmon cream sauce ($7), a rich and smoky carby delight. The wines are well-priced as well and the pistachio gelato is a nice way to end the feast.

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